URB Magazine sat down with Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda and interviewed him about Linkin Park’s new record LIVING THINGS, a bit like the interview with Brad Delson, Shinoda talks about the sound of the new album, he’s asked about A Thousand Suns and Minutes to Midnight, he talks about the motivation and inspiration for LIVING THINGS, Rick Rubin, the lyrics, and more. Read an excerpt below and the full interview HERE. Sorry about the confusion earlier today, we found this interview on Store13 with no source, it’s actually URB Magazine that interviewed Mike!
If A Thousand Suns had a very post-apocalyptic motif, what would you say Living Things has? More of a rebirth?
Mike Shinoda: On the other albums, we established a sound, abandoned that sound to experiment with a variety of other things, and then took a long ride down the rabbit hole with a concept album. But the one thing that’s always remained constant was the idea of bringing together disparate styles. That was why our original band name was Hybrid Theory. On this album, we brought together all the contrasting sounds from all our other albums, in each song. But in the process, we still found time to experiment with a lot of new things.
You told me you reconnected with lots of classic gear like your MPC1000 on the last album. You also said you found influence in old school rap. This album feels different; more punk rock. I especially hear it in a track like “Victimized.” Was that something you were consciously working towards with this record?
MS: This album was in the works for around a year. Over a year’s time, a lot of inspirations and changes in motivation happens. I think a lot of the demos came from stuff I made on my laptop, crossed with in-studio experiments. I guess one point of inspiration was a folk compilation that Brad and I came across; it was a set recorded in the ’20s and ’30s. We thought, A lot of bands have covered and referenced this stuff over the years. What are some things that we can do that those bands didn’t? We started mixing that with different things—like energetic electronic and alternative sounds—and we liked how it sounded. It was like, “Well, what would The Carter Family plus Refused plus Death Grips sound like?”
The synth sounds on this album sound more hopeful and less foreboding than on A Thousand Suns; more shimmery, more uplifting. Was there a concerted effort to change up the emotion in your gear?
MS: That’s interesting. Maybe it was just an intuitive thing. We’ve all heard stories of people who say, “I dreamed a song, then woke up and wrote it down.” Those people think of what a song is going to be, then they write and record it with a specific purpose. That’s the opposite of what we do. We approach a song more like a one line drawing, where you just put pen to paper and see where it takes you. We let the subconscious do the driving for the most part, and stop when we end up somewhere we like.
Though I think you gained a lot of new fans with the last album, it did receive a very tepid reception from lots of longtime fans. Now that you’re a year and a half out, what do you think it was, specifically, that people didn’t resonate with?
MS: We knew it was going to be that way before we even finished the album. We knew we had to be okay with that fact in order to be okay with putting it out. In the past, we had done a lot of experiments in the studio that would never see the light of day. A Thousand Suns was different. We knew this was music that we felt passionately about, and we still do. I think ATS was a real creative stretch, and I believe it was often best received by people who really knew the songwriting and recording process. It was almost a psychedelic experience making the album at times; we had to dive deep into it in order to achieve that sound.
Even looking at the track listing, the first half is more instrumental than vocal-driven. The album isn’t radio single-oriented; it’s meant to be an album-long journey. It’s about heavy subjects like nuclear war and environmental danger, and rooted in heavy studio experimentation rather than heavy guitars, and it was shocking for people to hear that come from us. It required some of an abandonment of the “baggage” of Linkin Park, which was a lot to ask of the average mainstream music fan, or even Linkin Park fan, in some cases. We wouldn’t have been able to make Living Things without having made A Thousand Suns.
Source: URB Magazine via Store13